More than a week ago, Kayla Beaty left the Times-Journal.
She served as managing editor for over a year after she succeeded Bradley Roberts. The two of them left their mark on this office and me, and I plan to continue their conviction of reporting the good, the bad and most importantly the truth in our communities.
Through my time working for both of them I’ve learned more about community journalism than a classroom could provide.
One of the key things I’ve learned is how to connect to people. I’ve interviewed musicians, politicians and regular, everyday people. I’ve sat in courtrooms and I’ve sat in school programs. I’ve had more phone call interviews than I can count. One thing that resonates with all these scenarios is the relatedness that comes with speaking with someone. Seeing and hearing someone’s emotion and relaying that into their story. Whether it’s a quick interview for an upcoming event, or an hour-long sit-down for a human interest story, everyone displays emotion. That’s how I connect with someone to tell their story. I watch their face, hear the inflection in their voice and I try to transcribe that for readers.
To me, that’s one of the key aspects of community journalism: how we connect the story to the reader.
So, in the coming months as the Times-Journal continues this transition, my main goal for our staff is to connect with you, the reader, and to tell the happenings of our community earnestly and honestly.
There’s something I say quite often to people when they ask why newspapers are still relevant, or why I decided to pursue this path, and that is, “You can’t save a Facebook post.” Now, sure, you can screenshot or maybe save something on your computer, but what I mean is the permanency of a printed picture or article. Social media is trendy. It’s fleeting. Community journalism, however, shines light on members of everyday society. It encompasses city council meetings, criminal trials, charity fundraisers and a number of other things. It features your child’s first baseball game or your little girl’s first father-daughter dance. It immortalizes these events and brings a feeling of nostalgia when you find it years later.
Those are the aspects of my job that I love and I hope to continue for a very long time. My staff and I are on the same “page” and are motivated and committed to printing the truths of our community and making a connection with our readers.
— Emily Kirby is managing editor of the Times-Journal. Her column appears in the paper’s weekend edition. Email: email@example.com.